Quick Hits: Britney Spears, Rolling Stones, Adam Levine, R. Kelly, Jack White, Vampire Weekend, Skrillex, Kurt Cobain movie, Boyz II Men
January 4, 2013

Britney Spears
Britney Spears has revealed that she's working with "new inspiring producers" on her next album, according to Entertainment Weekly. Spears is working with beat-makers like Hit-Boy and will.i.am, who produced her Femme Fatale track "Big Fat Bass." A rep for Spears also told EW that the project is still in the planning stages, and despite rumors to the contrary, the singer has not worked with producer Elijah Blake.

After playing a handful of 50th anniversary shows at the end of 2012, the Rolling Stones are figuring out where to go with it in 2013. "There have been quite a few offers," Mick Jagger told Rolling Stone magazine. "I'm going to see what's on the table and discuss it with everyone. We'll announce it when we've figured it out." The first hint of a 2013 concert came last month when the band's iPhone app listed an appearance at April's Coachella festival, but it was quickly removed. Jagger insisted that he doesn't know how it got there and that he had not been approached about playing at the festival. "I always said that we'd see how this would go, and then we'd think about doing more – or not," he added.

The Voice coach and Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine has been recruited to host Saturday Night Live on January 26. Levine has served as a musical guest on the show and has appeared in several digital shorts, but this will mark his first time playing host. Rapper Kendrick Lamar will be the musical guest.

R. Kelly has written and recorded a new track paying tribute to the survivors of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. The song, called "I Know You Are Hurting," is a gospel-influenced track that features choirs of children and adults, and it can be heard via YouTube. Meanwhile, an editor at the Newtown Bee is currently looking for musical acts to play Sandy Hook benefit shows that will take place in late January and early February at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. Details are forthcoming.

Third Man Records will release a 1999 live recording of Jack White and the Bricks that was taped at a Detroit bowling alley. Dubbed Jack White and the Bricks: Live on the Garden Bowl Lanes, the nine-track album will be pressed on bowling-pin-white vinyl and it will include two Bob Dylan covers ("Isis" and "I Threw It All Away") as well as several songs that would later be reinterpreted by the White Stripes, including "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" and "The Union Forever." The recording marks the first show Jack White and the Bricks played, with the band featuring future Raconteur Brendan Benson on guitar, Kevin Peyok (The Waxwings) on bass and Ben Blackwell (The Dirtbombs) on drums.

Vampire Weekend is aiming to release a new album this spring. In an interview with Q Magazine, frontman Ezra Koenig called the new material "dark" and "organic." He added, "We created some characters on the first record, some of which are real people, some of which are ourselves, so it's not so hard to keep following them and see what their concerns are now and how their lives have changed."

After being on the road for much of the past two years, Skrillex is ready to sit still for a moment and make a new record. "I have so much music. I have too many songs to even know what to do with," Skrillex told Billboard.com. "I just always make music anyway... But I want to make a record. I just haven't had enough time to really sit down and idle myself and clear my mind and go, 'OK, what's the next thing I want to say? How's it different from what I said before?' and think of all these things. I have so much inside me, so many ideas, I'm more excited than ever to make music again, 'cause I haven't done that for, like, two years." The EDM star predicts that he'll "be releasing some singles in the early year" but he isn't sure yet if he'll put together another EP or make his first full-length album.

Movie director Brett Morgen, who recently completed the Rolling Stones biopic Crossfire Hurricane, has given NME some insight into the Kurt Cobain film he's been working on for the past five years. Morgen explained that the as-yet-untitled film about the Nirvana frontman would be an embodiment of his character. "If you think about Kurt, he's a contradiction. He could be sincere and sentimental, and also ironic and sarcastic. He was sweet and sour. He was incredibly funny too, and the film has to reflect his sprit," Morgen told NME. "The thing about him people might not know too is that he was an incredible visual artist and left behind a treasure chest of comic books, paintings, Super8 films, all sorts. We're hoping the Cobain film, that'll hopefully be released in 2014, will be this generation's The Wall – a mix of animation and live action that'll allow the audience to experience Kurt in a way they never have before. It's very ambitious."

Boyz II Men has unveiled a Las Vegas residency that will have them playing weekend shows at the Terry Fator Theatre at The Mirage starting on March 1. The R&B group will perform 78 shows through the end of the year, featuring hits like  "I'll Make Love To You," "End of the Road" and "Motownphilly," as well as some surprises.

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Mark Adams
San Francisco

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